Samoa is safe
26th April, 2016, Suva FIJI - Samoa’s tourism destination is safe for all travelers.
That’s the word from the Samoa Tourism Authority in Apia, following widespread media coverage about natural disasters hitting Pacific destinations.
“Our sympathies go out to the families and victims of the two super cyclones that hit Vanuatu last year and Fiji this year. At the same time we would like to clarify that Samoa was not affected by these disasters, nor the forecasted cyclone that threatened us last weekend,” Samoa Tourism Authority Marketing & Promotions Manager Dwayne Bentley said.
“Samoa was preparing for the worst with Cyclone Amos and given the misfortunes suffered by our brothers and sisters in Vanuatu and Fiji, we knew we were going to face similar circumstances.
“Fortunately for us the cyclone caused very minimal to no damage, no lives were lost and our tourism industry remained unscathed.”
South Pacific Tourism Organisation Acting Chief Executive Alisi Lutu said they were glad that Samoa managed to escape the effects of a natural disaster and assured travelers it was safe to travel to Samoa.
“Many times we have had people accidently roping in all Pacific Island nations into one not understanding how far apart our island nations are located, separated by vast masses of ocean hence the need for such clarity.
“We will continue to reinforce this message through our communications to our visitors, media and travel partners she said.
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South Pacific Tourism Organisation
RELEASE 24th April 2016
Mother Nature’s playground received a spring cleaning over the weekend but the predicted severity of Tropical Cyclone Amos failed to eventuate, with an unexpected thunder storm over Samoa blowing the cyclone out to sea.
The sheer act of serendipity ensured the environmental serenity of Samoa. The weather bureau predicted a strong tropical cyclone, and as the country bunkered down to prepare for the worst, the miracle happened.
“We are proud of the response programs we have set in place for such events, and our properties are all operational with minimal to no damage sustained. All guests are accounted for. What was predicted to be a cyclone turned out to be nothing more than a summer storm."
“We are a proud and resilient nation, blessed by nature. It’ll take more than just a bit of rain to shut our islands down,” says Samoa Tourism Authority CEO, Sonja Hunter.
• Business as usual
• Faleolo International Airport remains open with scheduled flights resuming today
• Minimal to no damage sustained to hotels and resorts. All major resorts and hotels remain open and operational with all guests accounted for
• Water and electricity to the main islands are available
• Communication systems are all operational
• In parts of the country, water, electricity and communications have remained operational throughout
• The Land Transport Authority, Samoa Water Authority and Electric Power Corporation repair teams are out in the field repairing whatever damage was sustained and restoring access
• Road access around the country is possible
Those with bookings to Samoa are advised to contact their travel agent, accommodation provider, tour operator and airline and to maintain their travel plans to Samoa.
“Tourism is the mainstay of the Samoan economy with many families depending on the industry for their livelihoods. We are relying on your continued support,” added Sonja.
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The Samoa Tourism Exchange (STE) 2016 continues to be a successful event since it was initiated in 2008. In a special year for Samoa being the Visit Samoa Year 2016, a record number of influential travel trade and media representatives from as close as American Samoa and Fiji, and as far as the United Kingdom and China attended this year. Guided by the theme ‘Beautiful Samoa’, the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell is positive that the future of Samoa tourism gets brighter, as he welcomed everyone during the official opening of this international event.
“This year, a record 59 Travel Trade representatives with vested interest in Samoa’s tourism products registered from across New Zealand, Australia, the UK Europe, USA, Canada, China, South Korea, Fiji and American Samoa.” Said Lautafi.
Since 2011, this event has become the annual dedicated business-to-business event for the travel and hospitality industry, which has expanded to become one of the major tourism exchange in the South Pacific region, and an opportune event for Samoa’s growing tourism industry to discuss and enhance business partnerships with key overseas travel trade and media.”
In its ninth year, this gathering of global travel industry chiefs was officially opened with a reception ceremony on the 12th of April at the Samoa Cultural Village, with the Exhibition itself from the 13th to the 14th of April at the Samoa Conference Center.
The record number of buyers who attended were thanked by the Minister in the event’s closing ceremony at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort and were welcomed back to Samoa by the Minister for next year’s event.
“We thank all our STE 2016 Buyers and Sellers for ensuring the success of this event through the partnerships established, and the coordination and sponsorship of our Tourism Stakeholders.” Said the Minister.
“We trust that you have had a most productive time in our country, and have also had the opportunity to visit most of what makes our Beautiful Samoa a unique destination to visit and enjoy.” He added.
Before the Exhibition, VIPs arrived for a tour of Upolu and Savaii Islands, before they were joined by the luminaries of the travel industry for the Exchange.15 April, 2016 permalink
Samoa’s internet connectivity is about to take a boost as investors signed off on a scheme to lay an undersea fibre optic cable from Samoa to Fiji.
The newly established Samoa Submarine Cable Company joins forces with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Australian government in a $US49 million deal.
The scheme is set to improve internet connectivity – great news for Samoa businesses and travelers into the country.
“Our islands are the place to escape from the rest of the world. But paradise doesn’t mean you have to be completely disconnected. Those who need to stay connected can travel with the peace of mind that should they need to get online urgently, that they won’t experience any lags or delays and that our connectivity will be on par with the rest of the world” says Sonja Hunter, CEO of Samoa Tourism Authority.
It is expected to come into service in just over a year.
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Participants at the Samoa Tourism Exchange (STE) say face to face meetings between tourism stakeholders, increased queries on tourism products and eventually an increase in business. These were some of the positive comments raised by participants at the recent Samoa Tourism Exchange. Natalia Kovacs a travel agent from Goway Travel Vancouver said the event was not only ideal for networking purposes and signing contracts but it was important to meet people face to face in terms of reservations and sales.
“Goway Vancouver has already confirmed contracts with three of Samoa’s luxury boutique resorts, however, she is positive that they will secure more contracts after the event. Melissa Teodoro from Downunder Travel said she was impressed with the Samoan twist to the western dishes they tasted at the event.
“I am sure my clients will enjoy the different varieties of food in Samoa,” Teodoro said.
The annual Samoa Tourism Exchange (STE) is a B2B Trade Event for Product and Contracting Managers.
The STE featured a 2-day Exhibition (13-14 April) featuring pre-scheduled Buyer/Seller appointments with suppliers from across Samoa and American Samoa.
STE, which is coordinated by the Samoa Tourism Authority, was initiated in 2008 and has expanded to become a major tourism exchange in the South Pacific region.
This year, a total of 59 Buyers and 47 exhibitors attended from New Zealand, Australia, the USA, UK/Europe, China, South Korea, Japan, American Samoa and Fiji.
South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) Chief Executive Officer Ilisoni Vuidreketi said events like STE helped to showcase the wide variety of tourism products available in small nations like Samoa.
“Samoa is a nation that prides itself in its Fa’a-Samoa culture and traditions and is one of the friendliest nations in the region when it comes to tourism,” he said.
“I know the international travel agents and Samoan tourism operators would have been able to exchange ideas and important information that can only mean growth for this important sector in Samoa’s economy.”
Samoa recorded 131,175 visitors for 2015 compared to 130,653 visitors in 2014 and a lot of that performance can be attributed to events like the STE, the South Pacific Tourism Exchange and other tourism events aimed at luring more visitors to Samoa.
14 April, 2016 permalink
There’s plenty of developments underway in Samoa as it looks to boost its tourism infrastructure, including new hotels and the redevelopment of Apia’s waterfront — and a delegation of Kiwi wholesalers was in Samoa last week to see what’s happening first-hand. The Samoa Tourism Authority has designated 2016 as Visit Samoa Year, in celebration of the country becoming a ‘five-star destination’ with the opening of Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows, and the Taumeasina Island Resort. Preparations underway this year will also pave the way for the inaugural Samoa Tourism Excellence Awards.
“Tourism is the mainstay of our economy and we have selected to continue pioneering sustainable tourism, as we have stated in our tourism sector plan and vision that by 2019 Samoa will have a growing tourism sector,” says Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
Last year, Samoa enjoyed record arrivals with an overall growth rate of 5.4%, thanks largely to the All Blacks game in July and the Commonwealth Youth Games in September. Holiday visitors contributed most to the increase, now representing 37% of all visitors.
New Zealand is the largest market and contributed 44% of visitor arrivals in 2015 to a total of 61,645 - growth of 12% in 2014.
Last week, STA hosted the Samoa Tourism Exchange, which saw travel industry guests from around the world (including New Zealand) meet with exhibitors from across the industry. It kicked off with an opening ceremony on 12 April and was closed on the evening of 15 April at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort.
- Travel Today